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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Politics

William Hague says no ‘systemic’ abuse in Iraq

January 13 2014

William Hague has dismissed a bid to prosecute British politicians and senior military figures over alleged war crimes in Iraq. The Foreign Secretary said there was no need for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate allegations of UK forces abusing and killing detainees in their custody. There had been no “systematic” torture by troops and individual cases had either already been dealt with by the British authorities or were the subject of probes, he insisted. The head of the army, General Sir Peter Wall, ex-defence secretary Geoff Hoon, and former defence minister Adam Ingram are among those named in the 250-page dossier, according to the Independent on Sunday. Human rights lawyers have drawn on the cases of more than 400 Iraqis, arguing they represent “thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. They describe alleged abuse between 2003 and 2008 ranging from sexual assault to threats to kill and “religious humiliation”. The formal complaint to the ICC was lodged yesterday by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). It calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes under Article 15 of the Rome Statute. The dossier says “those who bear the greatest responsibility” for alleged war crimes “include individuals at the highest levels” of the British Army and political system. Meanwhile, it argues that “civilian superiors knew or consciously disregarded information at their disposal, which clearly indicated that UK services personnel were committing war crimes in Iraq”. However, Mr Hague told Sky News: “These allegations are either under investigation already or have been dealt with already in a variety of ways, through the historic abuses system that has been established, through public inquiries, through the UK courts or the European courts. “There have been some cases of abuse that have been acknowledged and apologies and compensation have been paid appropriately. “But the government has always been clear and the armed forces have been clear that they absolutely reject allegations of systematic abuses by the British armed forces.” Former foreign secretary Jack Straw said he was surprised about the allegations as they were not included in the inquiry led by Sir Peter Gibson into treatment of detainees, which reported last month. Last year, High Court judges said a “new approach” was required relating to the Government’s inquiry into the allegations. In May, the judges called for “mini-inquiries” to take place in possibly scores of cases to meet the requirements of Article 2, which relates to the obligation to investigate suspicious deaths involving the state. PIL acts for more than 1,069 former detainees and surviving relatives who allege that they or their family were unlawfully detained, tortured, or killed by UK service personnel in Iraq.

Angus & The Mearns

Passchendaele heroes added to Dundee war roll

August 10 2017

Three members of a Dundee family who survived the Battle of Passchendaele have been added to the city’s roll of honour. The Great War Dundee Project is the story of the 30,490 men that left the city to fight in the first world war and of the people left at home. Dundee gave 63% of its eligible men to the armed forces and the directory was updated following Saturday’s Courier article about the role the city’s Johnston brothers played in the war. Of the five Johnston brothers, Frank, Walter, David and Peachy were artillerymen, and the fifth, John, was an army doctor. Frank and Walter’s entries have now been updated while David, Peachy and John have now had entries created in the returnee section of the honour roll. Gary Thomson from the Great War Dundee Project said: “Following Saturday’s Courier article on the five Johnston brothers who served in the war, with both Frank and Walter paying the ultimate sacrifice and the fact that Frank, for reasons unknown is not recognised as a casualty of war, the Great War Dundee Project has updated the entries for both Frank and Walter on the new roll of honour. “Dundee paid a high price for her war efforts. By the armistice, over 4,000 men had made the ultimate sacrifice. “Their names are recorded in the city’s original roll of honour, a simple alphabetical list of names, ranks and regiments. “Over the years mistakes and omissions have been discovered by families viewing the list resulting in handwritten corrections to the record.” Mr Thomson said one of Great War Dundee’s main objectives is to produce an “inclusive, fully searchable online roll of Dundonians who contributed to the war effort” and in doing so honour the men and women who lost their lives and those who survived. He added: “Due to the fact that Frank was not recognised as a casualty his entry on the original Dundee Roll of Honour was very sparse with only his name and regiment listed. “Saturday’s article allowed us to contact Frank’s relative who provided us with a fantastic amount on information about Frank and Walter which have been added to their entry. “Not only that but the three brothers who survived, David, John and Peachy have now have entries created, in the returnee section of the honour roll. “It is thanks to people like Douglas that these entries now have added information and photos.” Frank is believed to have been wounded in Flanders in 1917 and he endured a prolonged and difficult death in November 1919 in a private nursing home in Dundee as a result of his injuries. The family have been unable to provide sufficient independent corroboration that he died directly of his war wounds as his army records have not survived. Frank’s great nephew Douglas Norrie from near Arbroath is trying to find documentary evidence to correct this. David and Frank were both with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and their batteries of large long range howitzers were deployed at Corps level and primarily used to attack specific enemy targets, particularly enemy artillery. Walter and Peachy served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFA) with their respective brigades being attached to infantry divisions and their smaller, highly portable field guns being used in support of infantry. The fifth of the brothers, Captain (Dr) John McPherson Johnston was a doctor and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was awarded the Silver War Badge after being discharged with TB.

Readers' letters

July 20: Enemies never forced closure of Leuchars

July 20 2011

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir,-Although I am extremely disappointed to learn that RAF Leuchars will be closed as an RAF base I am not too surprised, because this information has been leaked most likely by politicians for some months. As someone who proudly served my national service, in The Black Watch, I witnessed the similar leaking of information when politicians were deciding to no longer have a regiment named The Black Watch. RAF Leuchars has been an important part of North East Fife for 100 years. Its closure is something the enemies of our great country never achieved. I am left wondering what else politicians can change. Watch and listen for their next leaking of information to give us some indication. Ian Thomson.Samairi Cottage,Moor Road,Ceres. Missing from TV news Sir,-With military experience confined to a few years' national service, I can't pretend to be an expert on the armed forces. But didn't Dr Liam Fox miss something out when he announced massive cuts in the regular army and the closure of Leuchars air station? Shouldn't he have added, "And, as a result, we officially announce that we will from now on stop diving into every war that happens anywhere in the world." Oh, hold on, I almost forgot. Politicians don't actually get physically involved, only verbally. They involve our country then let the lads and lasses who serve in the forces face the bullets, get wounded, and get killed, so I suppose they think that's ok, then. I watched a national television news programme the night Leuchars was closed. Not a mention. Wonder how high up the pecking order the story would have been had the airfield been close, or even fairly close to, London. That is where it appears they are having the vapours over issues arising out of telephone "hacking" mostly involving people who deserve one another. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Fife. Army cash for Scotland Sir,- I am stunned at the negative reaction of some to the UK Government's announcement on the armed forces in Scotland. It is fantastic news. There will be a net increase of 2000 personnel based in Scotland. The British Army currently pumps £100 million into the German economy. A significant part of this will now be spent in Moray, North East Fife and Angus. The increase in the army strength in Scotland from 3500 to 8500, along with their families, will provide a knock-on effect on jobs. Stewart Whyte.25 Crombie Acres,Westhill. Alternative for Perth square Sir,-I was astonished to see a photograph of Mr John Bullough, of McEwens of Perth, standing beside Perth City Hall (July 5). If ever a photograph demonstrates why this building should be preserved, this is it! It is puzzling to read that Mr Bullough now recommends total demolition of the City Hall. A few weeks ago he wrote an article entitled "Perth city centre weathers the storm" in which he states: "A substantial visitor centre (in or around the square) will guide tourists around our museums, shops and monuments." This is exactly what the Perth City Centre Campaign advocates. By retaining the front section of the hall, we can accommodate our tourist office and a heritage centre in the heart of our city. Then he states in The Courier that, by having an empty square, we will be able to "bring hundreds of thousands of customers into Perth." I should think that we'd need to stage major events every day of the year in order to do that. He is, however, absolutely correct in saying we need to attract more visitors. Tourism is about the only asset we have left. In the same Courier article he says we need to "emphasise our unique attractions, our heritage." So how can we do this by demolishing our heritage? In relation to St John's Kirk, I also fail to see why the total demolition of the hall is "vital to the success of its refurbishment", as stated by session clerk Jo Young. The proposed square has even been compared to the large piazza in Milan. This is the height of nonsense, as anyone who has ever visited Milan will know. I see that the interior of the Woolworth building in High Street is being gutted and reconstructed. The council would have been better employed buying the hideous shell of this 1960s mistake, demolishing it and creating an open space there. Stella Cormie.Craiglea Road,Perth. Too quick to permit housing Sir,-Roger Scott (July 18) is to be commended for his pragmatic and realistic assessment of the causes of flooding in Perth. For Perth & Kinross Council to suggest that residents should be responsible for protecting their properties is a total dereliction of responsibility. Local councils, in conjunction with the local water authority, are responsible for drainage and always have been. The fact that local authorities have been responsible for allowing ever more development with little regard to the impact of their decisions on adjacent localities is a sign of gross incompetence. Councils are happy to allow development, whether it be housing or industrial, where council income from taxes is enhanced. But they seem to abrogate their associated responsibility for the consequences of their decisions, including the need for appropriate investment in necessary infrastructure. G. M. Lindsay.Whinfield Gardens,Kinross. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.

Readers' letters

READERS’ LETTERS: We need to remember soldiering can be brutal

January 13 2018

Sir, - Old soldiers will be perplexed and no doubt amused at the army recruitment team’s effort at encouraging more young people to join the army with their latest ‘softer’ campaign. Veterans will agree that nothing much has changed for those joining up. It’s only the language used to encourage them which has changed and is designed to resonate with a different generation. Those who have served will concur that emotions can range from absolute boredom to sheer terror within a very short time, that it is practically impossible to find an atheist who’s under fire in a fox hole and they’d also agree that a sense of regimental pride and comradeship makes the idea of ‘inclusiveness’ seem pretty shallow by comparison. We don’t need an army that reflects the make-up of our society. The fighting spirit of an army has never depended on the background of its personnel but more on the morale of their unit or regiment, the mutual respect of their brothers in arms and a firm commitment to serve loyally whatever the circumstances. An army cannot become a collection of individuals reliant on personal attention to their needs if it is to become a potent fighting force. The mantra of our army will never change. The role of a soldier is ‘to seek out and close with the enemy, kill or capture him, seize and hold ground and repel attack by day or night regardless of season, weather or terrain’. Recruitment teams must realise that soldiering to protect the realm can be a brutal business and when the going gets hot ‘snowflakes’ are not going to fare well. Iain G Richmond, Guildy House, Monikie.   Immigration adds to pressure Sir, - Over the last few days and weeks we have been bombarded with countless reports across all media of the pressure on the NHS. Indeed your paper (Thursday, January 11) has a statement from the BMA chairman Dr Peter Bennie saying that multiple targets, an ageing population and a gap in funding were stretching the system and the workforce ‘beyond their means’. For whatever reason Dr Bennie and the media never mention the fact that over the last few years about 300,000 extra people (net migration) have come into the UK every year with the right to use the NHS from day one. With unlimited numbers of potential customers for the NHS allowed to come into the UK every year it is clear no government of any persuasion will be able to sort the problem until it gets a tight grip on immigration. Mike Rogalski, 82 Feus Road, Perth.   Rich don’t care about the many Sir, - I recently noticed a couple of letters side by side in The Courier, one critical of the NHS, one of our education system. These are subjects which, unsurprisingly, appear on these correspondence pages very regularly. Clearly there are problems in both of these services, the reasons for which are many – and difficult to resolve. But one reason which doesn’t come up often is that the rich and powerful in our country don’t really care and don’t have a personal investment because they don’t use these services. They have a parallel system of private healthcare, and private schools, which insulates them from the effects of underfunding or staff shortages and ensures that they don’t have to suffer long waiting lists in the NHS, or lack of resources in their education. If young Prince George had to attend his local state primary school, and comprehensive thereafter, and Prince Philip his local GP practice, or NHS hospital, I suspect that there might be more attention paid to the reasons for poor standards, and more effort to improve matters. Les Mackay, 5 Carmichael Gardens, Dundee.   Doctors deserve some time off Sir, - Ian Allen ( letters, January 11) castigates GPs for only consulting between 8am and 6pm five days a week and enjoying long weekends over the festive period, and implies that they should be available 24 hours a day, 52 weeks of the year. Is Mr Allen available to work these hours in his chosen profession? I doubt it, and I know of no one else who is. Doctors, like everyone else, are entitled to a family life with time off to enjoy it. If we go back to the days when they were on call 24 hours a day the current recruitment and retention levels will become untenable and in many practices this has already become the case. Even if they had been on duty over the festive period, the majority of flu victims would have been told to go home and have a hot drink , with serious cases being referred to hospital, which A&E departments did anyway. Incidentally, a five-day week working 8am to 6pm comes to 50 hours. George Dobbie, 51 Airlie Street, Alyth.   Let down by councillors Sir, - May I thank Mr Alexander for his letter (January 10) regarding the Damacre Centre fiasco in Brechin and the ensuing planning meeting which he attended and witnessed. I also attended along with a small group of local residents who had voiced concerns about the proposed plans. I agree entirely with Mr Alexander’s take on the proceedings of the meeting which we all feel shed a rather gloomy light on how some of our councillors perceive the general public who voted them into these positions of power. I use the term power rather loosely as it seems some, though not all, have let it go to their head somewhat. These people are voted in to represent the public and sympathetically listen to their concerns. If they feel those concerns are misplaced it is their job to give adequate explanations to each and every one, not to ridicule , lambast and completely twist those concerns to suit their own personal agenda. The local residents feel they submitted very relevant points about the unsuitability of the Damacre Centre for this project but also offered up alternative, more suitable sites in regards to location, accessibility to public services such as existing drainage and existing road networks. Never once did any of the objectors mention or even hint that there wasn’t a need for social housing but this was the issue that we feel one or two councillors used to try and ridicule the objections. Strangely what wasn’t highlighted by those councillors in the chamber was that a planning application for a private house on the opposite side of Wilson’s Park (the main thoroughfare to be used for this development) was refused a year or so ago on the grounds of accessibility and road safety –all issues which are going to add massive extra cost to this current development . I went to the meeting expecting a fair, honest hearing but instead saw a show of utter contempt to a group of people who asked reasonable questions and expected backing from, at the very least, the three local councillors who we as a community put our trust in. Nicola Forbes, Damacre Road, Brechin.   Community’s voice ignored Sir, - I was very interested to read about Councillor Bill Duff’s concerns regarding the impact of a private housing development on a ‘historic’ path in Forfar (The Courier, January 11). Funny that because, not 10 days ago, he did not appear similarly concerned when he voted to demolish Damacre School in Brechin to make way for housing. This despite a raft of concerns, including the impact on road safety. An application for the erection of one private dwelling was turned down only recently near the site of Damacre due to concerns on the impact on road safety. An alternative site of the old St Drostan’s care home which has none of the associated issues with Damacre was also identified. Damacre School was responsible for the education of Sir Robert Watson Watt, among other Brechin luminaries. He was, arguably, responsible for Great Britain’s victory in the second world war in Europe and thus the man who prevented the ultimate victory of fascism in the western world. The level of hypocrisy and inconsistency in this is quite nauseating. Mark Arbuthnott, 94 Market Street, Brechin.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

UK & World

Social workers involved in St Helena child abuse inquiry take legal action

March 23 2018

Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.

Golf

Women’s British Open a sideshow to the Trump circus

July 30 2015

Helicopters circled noisily, Donald Trump mingled in a red cap that looked like it had been bought on the beach at Ayr and a man played “Flower of Scotland” on the tuba on the hotel steps. Somewhere, the Ricoh Women’s British Open finally broke out amid the circus yesterday. The host turned up at Turnberry with the expected fanfare, causing the championship to stop in its tracks. Lydia Ko, the World No 2, was standing on the 16th tee at six-under but paused to watch as Trump’s helicopter did two circuits above the course before landing in prominent position in front of the hotel. The 18-year-old young star finished with a 66, tucked in behind first round leader Hyo Joo Kim of Korea who equalled the women’s course record of 65. The experienced American Cristie Kerr also shot 66 on an ideal day for scoring but the day was really all about off course activities, which must have had the LGU and the LPGA squirming. After a press conference that was mostly a presidential campaign rally, Trump later ventured out on to the course with his “Make American Great Again” cap, a posse of photographers and TV cameramen in pursuit to “support the championship”. He later lifted off to his Aberdeen course and thereafter back to his Presidential campaign, and even if his support to women’s golf and the British Open is fully acknowledged, his departure is definitely for the best as this major championship felt like a complete sideshow rather than the main event it’s supposed to be. It’s not just Donald Trump that the championship has to please. Japanese TV requirements mean that the first groups were packed with leading players a situation that would never be tolerated in the men’s game. Thus Lydia Ko’s phone alarm went at 3.30 am, and she pressed “snooze” several times before realising she needed to “get going and get out of here”. However the young New Zealander has such a sweet disposition she barely complained, and indeed once on the course at her 6.40 am tee time blitzed the opening nine in 32, rattling in a massive 20 yard putt on the tenth for good measure. In the end, with the wind at her back on the final few holes, a 66 with four straight pars to finish was maybe a little bit of an anti-climax. Astonishing as it is for someone just 18, Lydia has to be considered the best player in the women’s game yet to win a major, but she doesn’t go with that hype. “My goal is to hopefully have one major win in my career,” she said. “Sometimes you read stuff and you don’t know what to think. I don’t look at records, I guess you guys will let me know if I get close to any.” What was she thinking when the Trump helicopter flew overhead? “I was like, man, that’s a really nice helicopter,” she laughed. “I would love one.” Kim, the 20-year-old Korean who was a surprise winner of the new fifth major on the women’s tour, the Evian Championship last year, struck out by herself with a bogey-free round in ideal weather conditions, sunny with just a slight cooling breeze. Kim speaks no English, but seemed genuinely stunned she was out in front, this being her first competitive experience in the British Open. “I just found out now,” she said through an interpreter after returning her card and finding out she was leading. “I’m kind of surprised, I’ve never played here before. “Thankfully it’s not windy, and no rain today,” she added. Kerr from past experience far outweighing both the players with her on the leaderboard knows that yesterday was a benign day to take advantage of. “They say that weather is going to move in again, so you need to keep your head on straight and your wits about you,” said the 38-year-old, after a whirlwind round of an eagle, seven birdies and a trio of bogeys, just missing a chance of the 18th to join Kim in front. “It was spectacular today but you need to take it day by day. “There’s no way I’ll get ahead of myself. I was proud of my mental game today, not focusing on my mistakes and I need to keep that going.” Kerr, “a pretty good friend” of Trump, didn’t feel he had been a distraction. “I know there was a lot of media speculation around comments that were made but everyone makes mistakes, right?” she said. “The Tour loves Donald, he’s done a lot of women’s golf and I know the players certainly love him.” Florentyna Parker, in the early morning wave, was the best Briton with a four-under 68 while Catriona Matthew just dipped under par with a 71 but admitted that was the day to go low. “There’s obviously some good scores out there, even if there’s still a breeze and it’s still difficult,” said the 2009 champion. “From the forecast, though, this may be the easiest day we get. “I was a little annoyed by bogeying the (par five) 17th, but pretty pleased with how I played. I hit into two bunkers off the tee and that’s two strokes gone straight away on this course.” Carly Booth battled for a par round of 72 to be the best of the other Scots.

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